Both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine have been used successfully for many thousands of years in the treatment of a wide range of conditions. Because Chinese Medicine works on the whole body, the practitioner endeavors to restore balance on every level. Change can be generated emotionally as well as physically through the use of either Acupuncture or Chinese herbs alone or in combination.
After taking an extensive history, the practitioner will decide on the most appropriate course of treatment. In addition to Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs, the practitioner may also use Moxibustion (the warming of acupuncture points using the herb Artemisia), dietary or lifestyle advice, and may recommend gentle exercise (tai chi) or breathing (qi gong) techniques.
How Acupuncture works:
An integral part of Chinese Medicine is the concept of Qi (pronounced Chee). Qi is often referred to as energy or life force, but in reality it is much more than this. Qi cannot be measured but without it we could not exist. Qi not only gives us life, but also provides us with the ability to move and grow, it is also inseparable from that movement and growth. This is often a difficult concept for many Westerners, with our very linear thinking, to grasp.
The second is the concept of Yin and Yang. In the West, people tend to see Yin and Yang simply as opposites. Yin and Yang can only exist as relative to each other – without one the other could not exist – and they may easily change from one to the other. The example of Yin and Yang in the classics is usually given as the shady and the sunny side of a hill. As the sun rises, the eastern slope is considered Yang and the western side Yin, but as the sun moves across the sky the eastern side becomes Yin and the western side yang. Same hill, different perspective.
Meridians, or channels, cannot be seen on the body but are considered in Chinese medicine to be just as real as the blood vessels or nerve pathways as recognised in Western medicine. It is along these channels that Qi flows – nourishing the body and allowing it to function smoothly and efficiently. Each of the channels is associated with a specific organ of the body and at some point along its pathway will connect with that organ. Any disruption or blockage of the flow of Qi along the meridians will in time affect the associated organ, resulting, for example, in decreased function or pain. Acupuncture aims to correct this flow of Qi, and thereby restore the balance within the body.
In more recent times, in terms of Western Medicine, rigorous scientific research has confirmed that acupuncture promotes the production of a variety of chemical substances in the body. These help relieve pain and relax muscles, help regulate nerve transmission, enhance the immune system, regulate hormones and blood flow and reduce inflammation.